Sunshine and Paddleboards

Jeez. It’s summer in Alaska!! Week three of my summer break and we’ve been checking things off our to-do list. This weekend we enjoyed two days of 80^ weather (which is rare in the part of Alaska we live in) at the lake.

We purchased a paddle board at the world’s second most dangerous store: Costco. I have put off trying it out because I knew I would fall hard for the sport. And… I was right. It’s AMAZING! There’s something so surreal and peaceful about walking on the water. Well… peaceful when you do it by yourself.

I have two small people who are now proud addicts of ‘lake surfing’ with me. Also one other big kid: my hubby. My son is so awesome- he sits on the front of the board while I paddle- today he stuck his feet of the edge and played in the water while looking for ‘lake monsters’.

My daughter hasn’t gotten quite as confident as her older bro. She will sit very still and carefully, while she faces me and look for ducks and fish. Her main concern  is how deep the water is, so we stay near the edge when she’s on board. She’s just two- so I can only imagine the adventures to come. I wouldn’t say she is braver than her big bubba, but she definitely is more adventurous.

My husband would like me to hook our SUP to the jet ski and pull him on it. Yah… pretty much a motor addict… that man.

Turns out our cabin neighbors also love to SUP and we got to check out their inflatable ones today. Next stop, Play It Again Sports to purchase two of those for our travels. I knew I should have never gotten on that board!! I am in love!


Alaska Paddleboarding!

Bottom line- if you haven’t tried it and would like an activity that allows you to enjoy nature in some peace ‘n quiet- this is a good one. Boards can be rented- but if you’re like me and know this is a match for you, just buy one. $370 at the Costco. Have fun!


Not Sleeping! NEVER!

Bed time battles? What’s up with that? I would gladly lay down and pass out for an entire 8-10 hours if possible. No need for prompting, bedtime stories, snacks, drinks, cuddles… just quiet, a blanket and a pillow. I’m good to go. Pillow and blanket optional if it’s quiet without kids to worry about.

Here’s bedtime at my house:

G: cuddle, pop in bed = asleep five minutes later.

S: Pick up toys, brush teeth, tuck into bed. Has to go potty. Brush teeth again. Tuck. Needs a snack (he is ‘starvin’ ). Brush teeth again. His water is old (it’s from ‘laaaaast night). Needs new water. Tuck. Bed time story with his big ‘ol flashlight (those super awesome ’80’s Playschool ones that turn color. Yah, it was mine as a child). Water. One more snack please? Uh-oh, potty emergency! Teeth again. Tuck. Lights off. Mom leaves.

You would think that the hour of activity listed above would result in an hour or quiet for Mom right? Oh no, it continues…

S: ‘Mama, mama, mama! One more thing! One more thing! I LOVE YOU!’. Tuck. Cuddle. Drink. Mom leaves again. Camps out right in the hallway with my tablet as he peeks out at least twice and mumbles something like ‘mama needs to go downstairs’. She doesn’t. Read for another 15 minutes. Tiptoe in to see if he is asleep.

Most nights he is. Some night, like last night, I go downstairs and sit to talk to my husband (who is out of town working). I hear a big crash from above the living room (in my room), then quiet. I go up to check and he is not in sight. Guess where? Yep- under the bed with his sleeping bag and some treasured items. He is safe. He is asleep. Mission accomplished. Off to enjoy a celebration beer… very quietly… don’t want to wake them up and start again!

Accidental Restaurant Denial

Every once in a while you forget things, right? Like… oh man, did I leave on my curling iron? Or: Did the garage door close all the way? Is the alarm set? And what do you do? You go and double check.

Tonight I forgot something and had to experience it to remember. Wondering what it was? THAT I HAVE A THREE YEAR OLD AND A ONE YEAR OLD. Know what that means? I should NOT be allowed in a restaurant. Seriously. Embarrassing.

Off my mom, step dad, S, G and I go… happily skipping into the Japanese delicious dining center. I’m in denial, so excited for my soup they put crispies in and it pops in your mouth. And tea! And egg rolls!! Oh- egg rolls.. .delicious.

We go to sit down and my son is instantly bouncing on the booth seats and my daughter wants nothing to do with the high chair. We manage to get everyone seated. S kindly pours himself some ‘tea’ which doesn’t taste quite right. Turns out to be soy sauce. Got him a new cup as I look over to see my mom’s face after tasting her ‘tea’. Turns out to be soy sauce. Strike One.

We distract the kids with ice cubes. That gets us a few minutes peace. Luckily they are quick with the appetizers here so those come out quickly. G loves food and chows down on some cabbage salad for a while. S refuses to eat anything and is busy making ‘soup’ in his water glass. Yes, it does definitely involve spitting food into the glass for the desired texture.

G doesn’t really like much else beyond cabbage and rice apparently. Everything else she tastes and then whips (seriously… she might be a pitcher someday) into the areas in front of our neighboring booths while making a uh-uh noise. Strike Two.

S has relocated to the floor under the table. Seems safe and quiet. Next thing I notice he is under G’s high chair. Not so bad, right? A few minutes later he is LAYING in the middle of the floor with waitresses walking around him. He is making Japanese food angels out of the food G has discarded onto the floor. Strike Three. We are out.

This whole time I’ve disillusioned myself into thinking I could have a conversation with my parents. No such luck. Add to that I see five groups of people I know (which never happens) and there’s other families with kids that are behaving perfectly. Off we go to the car. Obviously my son was not a fan of this choice, so he was kicking and screaming while I tried to scoop him up. Then he crawled under the table screaming ‘I want ice cream!!!! I. Want. Ice. Cream!!!”. Who’s kid is this and what happened to mine?!

You forget things? You go back and check. So… check. No eating out for us.


Pinterest Projecting with a Toddler

So what’s the deal with paint? Anybody know? How bad can it really be for you… if, say, you are around the age of 17 months old? And decided it might work really well as lipstick?

Well, welcome to my adventures of the day. Let me start from the beginning.

Pinterest. You’ve heard of it, I’m sure. Great place for inspiration and project list development for my husband’s off time. He just ‘loves’ Pinterest. 😉

Saw this super fun garden art/game idea. Picture a little tree stump with a lacquered ‘table’ top. It has a cute tic-tac-toe board painted on it and fabulous rocks painted like lady bugs, in two different colors to use for the game. Cute, right? Easy, right? Unless you happen to have a 17 month old (*This problem could extend to other age groups as well: so beware).

Step One: rock collecting. Easy to do since we are currently residing in a rock pit on the side of the highway. 8 flat rocks, plus one amazingly purple quartz rock I found (oh, I probably haven’t mentioned this, but I have a rock obsession. Seriously. Rocks in jars from all over. My husband loves it too. Right up there with Pinterest), and some extras for kid painting.

Step Two: picking paint colors. When you have limited choices, it’s easy to be happy with your decision. We had orange, green and pink. Went with green and pink rocks, with orange spots.

Step Three: Get materials set out. Nap time for G (toddler) made this easy. By some miracle it has been sunny for the first time in a week.

Step Four: Quickly get the team assembled. I tried to sneak out without my 3 year old noticing, but he found us outside and joined in the painting. My limited supplies meant I had one paint brush and Q-tips.

Step Five: Paint. It was going well. The paint actually covered the rocks, G and S were both artistically blending their pinks and greens. Then I look over at G. Her lips are a great mix of pink and green, as is her tongue. At this point I’m really glad we went with Q-tips. I also notice her beautiful blonde hair has some cutting edge green streaks. Wooo!

Step Six: Clean up. As we finished up, it started POURING! Not like, ‘oh fun, it’s sprinkling’… I’m talking about pouring. My team ditched me to clean up solo. The clean up continued after getting back into our travel trailer… clothes, hair, face, hands. Whoa.

So I’m sure acrylic paint in low doses is fine. If in future pictures you see a permanent green spot in her hair, we will know I was wrong in my assumptions.


To the ‘Hairplane’

The advantages of traveling with small babies: getting to board first. That’s it.

End of the list.

The first time I flew with my baby he was a tiny, sleeping, wrapped up two month old. I have never gotten so many dirty, mean looks in my entire life. Seriously. And I’ve been some places and gotten some looks. I was absolutely shocked and on the verge of tears as I sat there with my silent sleeping baby while people, who have obviously never been parents or children, paraded by. As a new mom, you are clueless. Have no idea what to expect or what to do. Lucky for me, this woman comes flying into my row with the largest smile ever while she quietly disinfects the entire area (including my arm rests and tray). She whispers to me (to not wake up the baby), asking questions about him and me and life as a new mom. I was blessed at that moment by someone with empathy and love to give.I think about her frequently and hope to be able to be so helpful to someone else. I hope she knows what an impact that made for me.

Since then, I’ve added another baby and gotten much more assertive. Much. More. Assertive.

Yes. Me and my children are on your flight. No, You will not be moving my three year old away from me to sit on his own because of the airline’s poor planning when seating people. Yep, I will be bringing my double BOB (love it, by the way… couldn’t live without it at this point in my life), diaper bag, giant purse/computer bag, and son’s backpack full of snacks… plus two special 13888_10152145186152027_6825788236192027475_n‘ankies’ (blankets) and coats. Yes, I will do my best to keep my kid from kicking your seat. No, I can’t help it if my toddler cries as we take off. And if you are in my row, we will probably be getting up to go to the bathroom 17 times (have I mentioned my son’s obsession with public restrooms?).

The great news? They still serve you booze on the plane. Better news? Soon my one year old will be two and we will own a whole row. Containment will be much easier. Definitely will be worth the extra fare.

Moral of the story: BE NICE! You never know who is taking their first scary trip with their new bundle of joy! Or who might be traveling without their bundle for the first time… Having kids invites people to tell you about theirs. Another upside to traveling with them!

Updated List to Advantages:

  •  Boarding the airplane first.
  • Hearing other’s beautiful life stories.
  •  Making memories… and creating a little extra empathy in yourself for when you see a lonely parent trying to keep it together. Consider buying them a good ol’ adult drink.